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There is a lot of talk about the 5G revolution, but what does it mean in practice? The new wireless network technology enables completely new applications, many of which are linked to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and industrial and business applications. Interesting? Let's zoom in on that.

5G is not only the faster successor to 4G. It also offers significantly lower latency than previous technologies. This is very important for industrial applications, such as for controlling machines, where the shortest possible response time after a 'stop' command is crucial. Or think of a self-driving car that processes information about the braking and steering maneuvers of other vehicles. The shorter the reaction times, the better and safer the devices react to their environment. They are in contact with their surroundings practically in real time, and that is a basic requirement for autonomous systems, both in road traffic and on the factory floor. In this sense, 5G creates an environment in which AI applications feel comfortable.

Speech and sensors

AI systems react to input such as image, text, speech or sensor data. Based on this, they automatically make decisions in things like route planning, translations and the automatic detection of problems in production. AI technologies work in the background, often unnoticed by the user.

The fuel of this technology is data, from data on people, usage and the environment to sales, production and machines. This makes all kinds of new AI-based business models and use cases possible. Companies that apply AI in the right way can, among other things, use it to optimise their operations, develop new services and products, and thus significantly increase their competitiveness.

The potential applications are endless and span all sectors, from autonomous driving, remote robotic surgery and augmented reality support for maintenance and repair, to coordination of autonomous mobile objects such as delivery drones. In particular, 5G offers many advantages in industries with high application requirements, such as automotive and mobility, energy, food and agriculture, smart cities, healthcare, manufacturing, and many more.

Cyber Physical Systems

The advent of 5G will significantly accelerate the development and deployment of AI-based services, as well as the emergence of so-called Cyber Physical Systems (CPS). These enable experts to connect digital systems to real-world objects and processes through sensors, actuators, processors, communication infrastructure and software components. The use of CPS offers powerful optimisation possibilities, including pattern recognition and the close interaction possibilities with people. Furthermore, methods such as machine learning, which forms the basis for image and speech recognition, increase the degree of autonomy of CPS. These technologies open the door to the factory of the future, combined with numerous insights that can lead to better and new products and services.

With 5G, an era is dawning in which distance plays less and less of a role in the decision-making of organisations. It is no longer relevant where an autonomous factory is located, where an autonomous truck drives, or where an autonomous delivery drone circles. As long as the data flow of the systems is guaranteed. Because with it, AI applications can orchestrate and optimise processes at a level of detail that is barely comprehensible to humans.

Picture Jan Heuker

Author Jan Heuker

Jan Heuker, Managing Director at adesso Netherlands BV.

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